Guinea pig wearing a cowboy hat, surrounded by fake cacti.
Guinea pig wearing a cowboy hat, surrounded by fake cacti. (Photo: EBPhoto/Shutterstock)

What's more adorable than a guinea pig? A guinea pig wearing a silly hat — obviously.

Whether it's a classic straw chapeau or a glittery pink top hat, the possibilities for showcasing your pet's unique personality are endless. The guinea pig below, for instance, is sporting a particularly clever DIY creation:

https://twitter.com/MetalOllie/status/702262867773497344

So, aside from a produce crisper, where does one find such glorious guinea pig-sized hats anyway? Why, the Tiny Hats store, of course!

There's a certain satisfaction that comes with doting on your beloved pets in this way, but it's important to remember that not every guinea pig will be amenable to playing dress-up. That said, there are definitely plenty of animals out there that don't mind enduring some momentary silliness for their doting, carrot-wielding human. (Including the very patient Bert, who you'll see in the video below

So, before you start playing dress-up with your guinea pig, here are five invaluable tips to keep in mind:

1. You can't teach an old pig new tricks.

Okay, this certainly isn't true of all guinea pigs, but like any pet, it'll typically be easier to acclimate the guinea pig to an activity like this if you start at a young age. That said, personalities and temperaments vary greatly, and so be patient.

2. Start small. Stay small.

Whether your guinea pig is wearing a felt hat for the first time or is a seasoned, Instagram-famous cavy cosplayer, always consider the weight of the object that's being placed on its body. Nothing's sadder than a smushed guinea pig.

A skinny pig wears a glittery pink hat.
A skinny pig wears a glittery pink hat. (Photo: BG-FOTO/Shutterstock)

3. Be prepared to bribe.

Always, always have plenty of carrots on hand as a reward. While carrots are some of the healthiest munchies you can give a guinea pig, avoid overfeeding by slicing baby carrots into quarters.

4. Keep an eye on the clock.

Try to limit each dress-up session to only a few minutes. Never leave your guinea pig unattended while he or she is wearing a costume. These little fur balls love nibbling on anything that looks vaguely like food, so decorative details found on costumes (like the pirate hat below) could be a serious choking hazard.

5. Don't force it.

If it's clear your guinea pig is not enjoying him or herself, stop immediately and give your friend some space. Not only could continuing sour any future costuming attempts, but it also might damage your relationship with your guinea pig. Cute Instagram photos are not worth compromising your pet's emotional well-being.

A guinea pig wearing a white and pink hat.
A guinea pig wearing a white and pink hat. (Photo: otsphoto/Shutterstock)

Catie Leary ( @catieleary ) writes about science, travel, animals and the arts.